Megaupload Negotiating To Let US Gov't Officials (And Everyone Else) Retrieve Their Legit Files That Were Taken Down

from the funny-how-that-works dept

We’ve noted before that with the complete takedown of Megaupload by the US government, tons of people who had perfectly legitimate files hosted at the site lost those files and all the inbound links to them. While the government won’t do a permanent restore, I’m sure, apparently negotiations are ongoing to let people go in and “rescue” their data. It sounds like, as part of that process, the Megaupload crew has been reviewing details of their users, and they note that many of their users appear to be in the federal government itself. That’s really not a surprise, since there were plenty of legal uses for Megaupload (as well as infringing uses). But it does suggest just how widespread usage of the site was. It will certainly be interesting, however, to see if data on government users comes out as evidence in any possible trial.

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Companies: megaupload

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Comments on “Megaupload Negotiating To Let US Gov't Officials (And Everyone Else) Retrieve Their Legit Files That Were Taken Down”

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Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Any idea how many? What percentage of traffic? With only 10% of the users uploading, it would seem to be a small count.

Does it really matter? Any collateral damage to the innocent users is too much in my book. Even more so considering this about the US Government and items that are considered speech.

And you really need to lay off on that “only 10% of the users uploading” crap. That is pretty close to the Pareto principle and only shows that Mega was pretty much normal in regards to uploader/downloader ratio.

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: !!!

Oh, how much collateral damage is acceptable?!?

Is it okay if 10% of the people put to death by the state are innocent?

Is it okay if 20% of the people who’re serving life sentences are innocent?

Is it okay if 50% of the people stuck in the bullshit ‘felon parol’ system never did anything illegal?

Where does one draw the line on acceptable collateral damage?

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

The courts have ruled that some free speech may be hurt in the process of removing illegal speech, and that is tolerable.

Some back of the napkin math here:

Megaupload Unique visitors: 82,764,913

Now let’s say for the sake of argument that only 1% were uploading legit files:

That is 827,649 users. That is still a pretty large “some” there. And that is only looking at users and not even considering the actual number of files or what was actually infringing or not.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m still shocked at the idea that the US Government can just take down 4% of the web in one day, all without even being actually found guilty through a trial first.

This makes me think that if they really wanted, they could also take down Twitter, Tumblr and Youtube, too, all just with a few outrageous accusations.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It maybe amazing but it’s not surprising. That’s the U.S. (in)justice system for you.

Much of it stems from how the U.S. system has been engineered. Many people end up incarcerated or fined or punished with legal penalties and fines and settlements without even having a trial because trials can be very time consuming and the process can be more time consuming and require more effort and resources and money and risk than the punishments and settlements and fines themselves.

From a Slashdot article

“More than 90 percent of criminal cases are never tried before a jury, in part because the Supreme Court ruled in 1978 that threatening someone with life imprisonment for a minor crime in an effort to induce him to forfeit a jury trial did not violate his Sixth Amendment right to trial. ‘The truth is that government officials have deliberately engineered the system to assure that the jury trial system established by the Constitution is seldom used,’ says Timothy Lynch, director of the criminal justice project at the libertarian Cato Institute.”

The comments are also worth reading.

As one of the comments points out, it wouldn’t be too surprising to find that many people who are incarcerated or somehow punished by our legal system did, in fact, do nothing wrong or illegal but they just settled with a plea bargain because it’s not worth the risk and trouble of going to trial.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

If everyone who was in trouble took it to court, the system may crash in the short run but in the long run, prosecutors would be more cautious about only prosecuting those whom they know they can successfully convict. They might then actually do their jobs and start gathering evidence and conducting more legitimate investigations.

They would be less likely to conduct searches, seizures, and wiretaps without a prior warrant because they would know ahead of time that these types of invasions will likely not be permissible in court.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

And the fault of this would be on the people accused?
Or on the people who keep expanding the law?

Being able to threaten people to get them to give up a right, because it makes it convenient or easier for the accuser is appalling.

I wonder how “fair” the actual system is when someone gets an overwhelmed public defender who has to give you the “best” advice to just take the deal because they can’t possibly give you a decent defense, and if you are silly enough to think you have rights they will just increase the charges to make you cave in.

tqk says:

Re: Hahaha!

Expose the dirty government copyright thieves for the criminals they are! Sue the people? SUE THE GOVERNMENT!

A bit hyperbolic the way you state it, but that was my first thought too. Did gov’t employees infringe via the gov’t’s network? Well, how’s that work out in other situations? The gov’t network was complicit, their management was complicit for allowing it to happen, ICE should seize their domains, … Too bad you can’t extradite Obama.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

I think it will be more interesting to map everything they had stored.
Seeing the number of “officials” who were regularly using the site for nefarious purposes. Not like we’ve never seen this happen before, where they claim X is the end of the world, while they are violating the same law themselves.

I wonder if this will also let them source many of the “suspect” files the Government claims were uploaded and shared back to the IP addresses of the **AA’s and Government offices. While IP address alone should NOT be enough to run a court case, it currently is accepted practice in the US. If it is sourced from a copyright holder is it sill unauthorized?

It would also be nice to show how much content was NOT infringing, so the Government can explain itself in taking away other peoples materials and then making a threat that they were to be destroyed.

bob (profile) says:

The wishful dreams of legit users

While I’m sure that there were some legit users of Megaupload out there in the world, I want to pour some cold water on the astroturfing dreams of the folks at EFF and TechDirt. Despite their hard work and advertising, the EFF still hasn’t brought forth their sympathetic grandma who lost her knitting instructions in the takedown. Perhaps they’ll find her and start parading her around the Internet, but I think the odds are long that there are many legit users.

Why? Because Megaupload is not a backup service. It’s a file transfer service. Anyone who wanted a backup would use a legit backup service with all of the features it offered. I’m sure someone thought, “Gosh, I think I’ll stash a copy up at Megaupload”, but most of them have got other copies.

And who are these people? I would guess that 99% of the people are folks who started using Megaupload for the other benefits like the chance to “share” content for free.

Do any of these people want the EFF to rescue their files and drag their names through the paper? I seriously doubt it. They’re running for cover. They’re hoping that the Feds will delete those files pronto.

If I were a lawyer for a content company, I would subpoena those files and start suing everyone caught in the crosshairs. No one wants those files to reappear.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: The wishful dreams of legit users

funny the content companies, when given access to these types of sites, often delete the works of others and things they assume belong to them moving well outside of their legal rights.

And yes I think it would be AWESOME to get a list of who uploaded what, and when a bunch of Government people and **AA people are hauled into court we can all laugh at the biggest pirates being the people who claim to suffer the most from it.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You do understand there is a world past the end of your nose yes? That for all of your gifted understanding of the interwebs, that there are a bunch of people out there who know nothing about the rest of the web.

Google is a pirate site, we’ve seen the lawsuits and claims, yet millions of people place things on G+, Gmail, Google Calendars, etc…

Just because your narrative states Mega = PIRATE DEN, does not mean everyone else on the planet had the same knowledge or used it in the manner. But it is much easier to paint them all as evil stupid pirates, than to consider they were innocent people using a service to move content they created/owned easily.

Anonymous Coward says:

Since megaupload can apparantly differentiate its users, and if users are allowed to “rescue” their data, just let those users who are not government employees access to their data. If government employees want their data back they will have to pressure the government to allow/force a permanent full restore.

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